Aliens are a truly magical subject for artmaking. They allow the student artist to be creative in it's design by breaking rules of figure drawing, color, and form while also providing the necessary benefit of forgiveness since an alien doesn't have to be drawn realistically. Here are two ideas that extend an alien drawing digitally incorporating music and animation: Idea one: aliens on instruments & Idea two: alien beatboxing.
Idea one: Aliens on Instruments
I began designing an animation challenge for my students after a large dose of inspiration from the animator, musician, and illustrator, Andy Martin. This project would include aliens, repetitive movement, and instruments. If kids can manage this project we'll finally be able to get the band back together! Seriously, students could each contribute a creature to a group animation movie set to music that demonstrates an understanding of flipbook animation, movement, sound, and creative figure drawing.
To animate an alien playing an instrument I created layers that helped isolate the moving and non-moving parts using the Do Ink Animation and Drawing app.
1. I drew the alien head, body, and legs.
(hint: lock the layer when finished so you don't accidentally change or erase it when animating)
2. I drew the alien's instrument then locked it.
3. I drew the arms that played the instrument, copied the slide, erased, and redrew to show movement.
Performance: Lenny and the Leonids
Listen to my favorite alien band's first hit below composed in garageband, animation in DoInk, and edited in iMovie.
Idea Two: Alien Beatboxing
I designed four more aliens in an attempt to try beatboxing. This idea requires that each alien moves its mouth in some way to match the sound it creates.
I used the DoInk drawing and animation app again to make my alien designs move their "mouths" to express their sound. I kept it very simple so that I could generalize the concept later when I layered the music in. Below is a test run of each flipbook design in composition mode. I had to adjust each alien's flipbook motions so they weren't moving their mouths too fast. Later I learn that this was pretty important for matching the mouth with the sound later. But, this was my first time, so I tried to time it better in the movie editing stage.
Next, I pulled out my laptop version of Garageband and tried to make a sound for each creature while keeping a steady beat. I had lots of trouble blending my sounds, getting the timing right, and figuring out effects. What I ended up doing was putting on headphones, laying down a drum beat as one track (which I later deleted), and matching the beat with my new sound recorded to another track. That helped me keep the beat better. I labeled each track by creature color to help me keep track of what's what when I did my final animation. I tried to match the DoInk composition timeline to the garageband timeline as exactly as I could. Luckily both interfaces allow you to look at fractions of seconds so you can bring in the creature at the same time the audio begins.
Below is each alien animation timed with their beatbox sound. Next, to put it all together into one composition using the DoInk animation, garageband sound track, and iMovie.
Performance: Alien Beatboxing
Below is the Dance my 7 alien friends choregraphed quickly. I was able to capture it using Keynote and iMovie with the song they chose from incompetech.com.
Resources: Video and handouts
Andy Martin and his planet animations are the inspiration for animation challenge. There are twelve planets to explore with different creatures on each. Planet one's aliens make music with their voices as they gather. This idea would be fun to explore as well.
Bonus! Alien Remake of a Fugleflick
I used a guitar playing alien and two of his duplicates to recreate a old fugleflick appropriately called, Deep Space. This fugleflick attempts to explain how to create the illusion of space in a 2D place with foreground, middle ground, background, and overlapping. The song was performed by three 3rd graders many years ago. View their movie here. You'll probably notice the moving lips in this video. I recorded my mouth moving to the words and masked them into the video using the Do Ink Green Screen app. The whole movie was created using both the Do Ink animation app and the Green Screen app. I lined it up with the music from the original song using iMovie. View the results here.
Take the Deep Space Quiz
using edpuzzle (found via NICE MiniCon session by Shannon Schroeder-Thanks!)
Ditty is an app introduced to me via @DrydenTech and @msquick4 as a way to make a musical video from any text you type. When I started playing with it I began seeing lots of fun uses for making Musical Memes combined with animation. Above (left) is an example of a green screen stop motion animation using iMotionHD, an iPad document camera, and green construction paper. On the right is a musical ditty of the phrase "monsters love to dance." I combined the videos in the Green Screen app by DoInk and along with some more stop motion clips to make the Musical Meme below. See this post: http://drydenart.weebly.com/fugleblog/green-screen-stop-motion-monsters
I used two drawings and animated them in the composition mode of the DoInk Animation app over a green background. Then, I layered the video over a ditty created from my slogan, "Life is too short for long faces" using the Green Screen app by DoInk.
This musical meme was created with a drawn animation of a pigeon using the doInk animation app. I was able to export the animation after I used composition mode to the shared folder. When I opened the green screen app I could import the animation with a transparent background using the shared folder feature. The two apps play nicely together to save time and keep you for having to do extra steps while layering your work.
The musical meme below is a quote illustrated with a rotoscope of people scratching each other's back. I made this rotoscope once, duplicated it, changed the color, and repeated until I had a long chain of people helping people. The rotoscope was overlapping the ditty's words so I extended the animation in the green screen app with a layer of plain white. This animation also used the shared folder between the two apps.
Fifth graders brought their iPads to art class for the past couple of weeks to work on a digital figure drawing of themselves flying in their pajamas. This image will be the starting point for a creative writing and illustration lesson that will include animating their figures across a landscape. See the entire gallery of images here.
I created the movie below as I was working on this idea. I am hoping their animations can be pieced together into a video with music giving students a chance to combine their art, music, technology, and storytelling skills into a collaborative project.
Did you notice that the figures are all in a similar pose? That is because to help students draw their figures successfully, we imported my sketch of a generic figure as a layer in Sketchbook Express. The artwork was drawn on a separate layer over the sketch and filled with color using the pour feature. The background is empty now so we can erase it using instant alpha in Keynote so we can animate it across their drawn landscapes.
We are the 2nd place winner of the ISTE Technology in Action Video Contest.
See my post for more info.
View our Entry for the What's Your Story
Internet Safety Contest
(Won the 2nd Place Prize)
View this musical tribute to the hard working teachers at Dryden and the students they love to teach.
Tricia Fuglestad, NBCT 07
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.